Stick Shift: 2018 Lexus NX 300h

Lexus returns in 2018 with one of the better small SUV’s out there in hybrid form, the NX 300h. They’ve left the formula largely untouched. Good thing too, as the NX hits most of the right notes, and manages to do so with lots of style. To be clear, as a hybrid, this system is pretty relaxed about everything. Unlike the Prius, you don’t need to adjust the way you drive. There’s no need to be mindful of braking for battery recharging, coasting on downhill stretches or the mysterious for most EV mode. Just put it in drive and go. The hybrid system will quietly help out from behind the scenes. You’ll hardly notice its there. Only problem with such a hassle-free system is that it can only do so much, only helping the new NX 300h achieve 31 combined mpg. As a bonus though, the absence of a turbo means you’ll save a little extra at the pump since you don’t need premium fuel. The hybrid is perfectly content with regular unleaded.  

Little has changed on the interior and exterior of the NX SUV. It continues to boast cutting-edge design with sharp, bold elements both inside and out. Without a doubt, the Lexus NX 300h will continue to turn heads. 

Photo via: Lexus

A 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and electric motor combine to churn out 194 hp. Everything runs through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). This CVT is more responsive than most though as a kick-down switch is activated at full throttle, giving you immediate full power. This was helpful for passing slower traffic or just quickly getting up to speed from a full stop. Even with this feature though, the NX 300h won’t quite keep up with its turbo-charged counterpart.

With better than average fuel economy for a small SUV, an impressive ride quality, excellent handling and good acceleration, the NX 300h comes equipped with enough performance to satisfy most. As a smaller SUV, you’ll find it to be highly maneuverable, but a tad too tight in the back for most adults, and lacking the seating capacity for a growing family. Regardless of its shortcomings, from the moment the NX first hit the scene, its been the reliable, refined and exciting small SUV option that many are after.

Price as tested: $48,308.00

By: Brandon Randall

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